OUT OF ORDER: A source has provided the Sunshine Coast Daily with photographs of a man removing signs along David Low Way at Marcoola.
OUT OF ORDER: A source has provided the Sunshine Coast Daily with photographs of a man removing signs along David Low Way at Marcoola. John Mccutcheon Contributed

Brazen thefts a sign of heated political times

AS THE 2015 state election candidates prepare to march to war at the ballot box this Saturday, a preliminary battle is already being fought on Sunshine Coast roadsides.

Dozens of election signs for various parties have been vandalised or stolen during the month-long campaign.

Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle, who has lost 30-40 signs through vandalism and theft, rates the attacks on signs the worst he has seen in his 10 years in politics.

"You always will look at losing a few, but this is a very large number compared to the other four campaigns I've been through," he said.

A source provided photographs to the Daily yesterday of a man in a small white truck who he witnessed tampering with signs along David Low Way at Marcoola.

The witness said the man appeared to be removing clusters of signs for the Palmer United Party and other candidates and replacing them with signs for the sitting LNP Member for Maroochydore, Fiona Simpson.

"It was brazen," he said.

Is it unfair for politicians to have their signs stolen or damaged?

This poll ended on 18 March 2015.

Current Results

No, they are expensive to replace

14%

No, get rid of all the signs, they're an eyesore

51%

I don't take much notice of the signs, they don't change my vote

33%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Ms Simpson viewed one of the photographs and declared it was neither one of her campaign vehicles nor one of the people involved with erecting her signs.

She said some of her signs had also been vandalised or disappeared and she did not participate in or condone the activity.

PUP Maroochydore candidate James McDonald said about 75% of his signs had disappeared.

"I put about 40 signs up last night and five or six of them were gone this morning and that was within seven or eight hours."

Caloundra ALP candidate Jason Hunt said the theft of signs and stakes worth $10-$12 each added up.

"I've put brand new signs up in the morning and they're gone in the afternoon," he said.

Mr McArdle described the attacks on signs as an "unusual scenario" but did not think it was an orchestrated dirty tricks campaign by any candidate because "you don't see the vitriol that has occurred with past elections"

"I know it's happening to all candidates and it's across the Coast," he said.

"I can't put a reason as to why this is occurring, but I don't like it. It's a worrying sign because it probably has repercussions down the track."

Mr Hunt said the culprits probably thought they were doing their bit for democracy, but urged them to reconsider their actions.

"The thing to do with that passion is to get involved, join your local branch and get in that way, because otherwise what you're involved in is theft and you have committed a criminal activity," he said.

 



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